Storytelling starts with a clear strategy

online storytelling

If you want your idea or message to stick, nothing beats a good story.  People relate to stories and gladly share them with others. President Obama uses storytelling to connect with voters in a personal way.

Storytelling can make your website more personal.  You need to start with a clear content strategy that defines your target groups, key messages and business objectives. Then build a story that connects those dots.  Here are two examples:

 Case study – To attract new clients, tell stories don’t sell features.  A case study is nothing more than a story that shows how your product or service solved a problem.  You can discuss the problem, the challenges and how your product or service made a big difference.

Career section of websites – To attract top talent, go beyond simple job listings.  Let workers tell their personal stories to new recruits in a video.  They can address issues important to future employees like career growth, corporate responsibility and diversity.

Potential clients and new recruits relate better to storytelling than corporate happy talk. That means there’s a better chance they will actually listen to your message.  In the coming months, President Obama will use storytelling in his re-election bid. This is an excellent opportunity to observe, analyze and learn.

Like this post?  Share it.  Written by Don Seidenberg.

Five steps to better web content

content strategy for the web

It’s time to start treating web content like a valuable asset. You can’t cut and paste your way to web content happiness. To benefit from your content, your company needs to have the right processes in place.

In Content Strategy for the Web, Kristina Halvorson outlines five steps to get you started.

1. Do less, not more – Focus on what is useful. Eliminate content that does not support a key business objective or help a customer complete a task like booking a flight. Less content is easier to manage and easier to use.

2. Figure out what you have and where it’s coming from – Content strategy is complicated. Planning to create, deliver and govern content requires input from different people. Do an audit of all your web content. Then evaluate the usefulness of all content.

3. Learn how to listen  – Do some serious listening. Ask everyone involved in the content process about their daily needs and challenges. And don’t forget to ask your customers what they need.

4. Put someone in charge – Empower someone to make decisions on what needs to be created, how it will get online and what happens to it once it’s live.

5. Ask why – It’s easy to publish content but should you? Only publish something if you have a good reason.

Having the right processes in place makes good content possible. So ask yourself what content do we need and why. And remember if you’re looking for web content happiness, less is always more.

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Make a content strategy. Part 1.

content strategy for the web

The web has been with us for about 15 years.  Yet, content still doesn’t get the respect it deserves.  We focus on tools, platforms and somehow forget that the web is about content.

Let’s make 2012 the year we get serious about content.  Good web content requires thought and strategy.  Simply put, you need to align your web content and business goals.  This is the heart of your content strategy.

List your short term goals, long term goals and plans for the coming year.  Know who you are trying to reach and the messages you need to tell them.   Then make a plan to achieve it.  Make sure you have enough content to achieve your goals but not too much.

Too much content makes it hard for people to find what they are looking for.   Content strategist Kristina Halvorson has an easy rule regarding what you don’t need.  Unless your content supports a key business objective or helps a user complete a task, it’s useless.

Kristina’s book Content Strategy for the Web teaches you how to create a content strategy and achieve meaningful web content.  If you want to take your website to the next step, hers is a voice you want to hear.

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Is your website a horse or a camel?

It’s been said that a camel is a horse designed by a committee.  When you try to please everyone, your well strategized website becomes all things to all people.

Everyone has an opinion and everyone has to be heard.  Decisions are often made for the wrong reasons like to soothe someone’s ego or to keep peace with the content owners.  A successful site can never be all things to all people.

Resist the temptation to listen to everyone.  Think about the purpose of your site and who you are trying to reach.  What should your site tell customers, job seekers and investors? Think about what you want those people to do on your site.

Hopefully your next site will be more like the horse you planned rather than the camel you didn’t.

Like this post?  Share it.  Written by Don Seidenberg.

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